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‘Remote supervision’ is where one legal practitioner supervises another, but the two practitioners are either based in different locations, or employed by different entities.
Usually a legal practitioner within your law practice would be your supervisor. This allows for the daily contact and oversight of your work that the supervisory relationship generally requires.
Rule 7 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015, however, allows you to have a supervisor from a different entity or location, provided you are given adequate supervision. It is your responsibility to seek approval from us for a remote supervision arrangement. Government and corporate lawyers may also make similar arrangements.
Our Supervised Legal Practice Policy and Guidelines for Supervisors web page also apply to remote supervision arrangements.
You and your supervisor should develop a plan for how to address the potential administrative obstacles which are inherent with a remote supervision arrangement. Technological solutions are encouraged and may be helpfully utilised to facilitate the remote supervision arrangement. Administrative obstacles which must be carefully considered and included in any remote supervision proposal you make to us are:
- the logistics of contact, how regular one-on-one meetings will be conducted and how you can contact the supervisor at all other times;
- how the supervisor will manage your workflow if they are not employed in the same law practice or are based in a different location;
- how correspondence and advice will be reviewed and feedback provided to you, as well as the frequency of such review and feedback;
- how the supervisor will access files and documents necessary for them to review all legal work you perform (with careful consideration of client confidentiality issues); and
- the supervisor’s levels of experience as well as your own if relevant, and details of the role (including areas of legal practice). The supervisor’s experience in Victoria may be a relevant consideration.
To assess the remote supervision arrangement, we require a written proposal from you and your employer and supervisor, setting out the supervision that will be provided. The proposal should confirm the supervisor will have authority in respect of all legal work performed and will be able to direct, amend, override or intervene.
You should demonstrate in your application how you will address each of the administrative obstacles listed above.
We will consider whether the proposed remote supervision arrangements are adequate in all the circumstances.
We are more likely to be satisfied with an arrangement where the supervisor:
- provides regular, structured supervision in person;
- consistently “checks in” on you and has an agreed upon schedule for doing so;
- clearly communicates routines and expectations to enable work to be completed and reviewed in a timely manner; and
- demonstrates an understanding of the environment you are working in and the potential challenges you face.
We are unlikely to approve an arrangement where you are the only legal practitioner at a law practice.
If the remote supervision arrangement is approved, we strongly recommend that a notice be provided in all engagement letters to clients stating that you are engaging in supervised legal practice only, and should also provide contact details for your supervisor.